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Poster: bluedevil Date: Feb 14, 2008 12:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

Heard a recent radio interview with her where she commented about how impossible it was for her to hear on stage with wall of sound and she fully understands how people hate her screeching because she hates it to. She stated that she ruined many a song by being out of key. Anyway, she was being interviewed about her new music (imagine that - new music at this stage of life, hmmm...)
and here are two recent links re same:
http://www.jambase.com/Articles/Story.aspx?StoryID=12899

http://www.jambands.com/Features/content_2008_01_23.05.phtml

Some interesting comments/insights in both... like recollections of working with Elvis, and this tidbit:

Singing with the Grateful Dead, you’re singing in front of one of the loudest sound systems in the world. Some of that was the Wall of Sound. And you have all of that music coming in back of you and towards you. Then, the vocalists up front were relegated to these little itty-bitty monitors. The competition for the audio space, how much you can even hear, was tremendous. It was a struggle. And being a studio singer where you have the perfect world, you have everything the way that you can hear it. It was a struggle for me. And I can understand why people have issues with…I have issues with me and what I did back in those days. (laughs)

This post was modified by bluedevil on 2008-02-14 20:57:07

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Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 14, 2008 1:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

Cool; great to read that...makes me feel less guilty. I can understand it and regardless if some might argue it is just an excuse it makes clear she has considered it, which is all you can ask.

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Poster: Chris U. Date: Feb 14, 2008 2:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

"Singing with the Grateful Dead, you’re singing in front of one of the loudest sound systems in the world. Some of that was the Wall of Sound. And you have all of that music coming in back of you and towards you. Then, the vocalists up front were relegated to these little itty-bitty monitors. The competition for the audio space, how much you can even hear, was tremendous."

None of this excuses the banshee screaming at the Hofheinz Pavilion in 1972.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Feb 14, 2008 2:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

" None of this excuses the banshee screaming at the Hofheinz Pavilion in 1972. "

EXACTLY. Besides, they played the freakin tapes back periodically. The only thing I can think is that the band must have encouraged it right? How else could anyone think that howling and screeching was ok?

Sorry. Seems like a real nice lady but the truth is the truth.

On another note: local public radio has been playing Donna and the Zen trickers. Sounds like over the hill cheesy bar band stuff to me but I'm happy she's getting play.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Feb 14, 2008 1:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

"she fully understands how people hate her screeching because she hates it to. She stated that she ruined many a song by being out of key."


Love to hear she said that. Makes me look on Donna in a whole new (positive) light. not that i ever had anything against "her" at all.

good post you freakin' thieving lying lawyer (and asshole to boot)

;-P

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Poster: Kryssy Fields Date: Feb 14, 2008 2:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

lol ... watch out dire lawyers have strange bed partners. You may have just made "the tighty whitey raid list".

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Poster: Dhamma1 Date: Feb 14, 2008 4:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

Ah, the question that refuses to go away. Here's a possible way to shed other light on it: what did she sound like in the mid-70s when she sang with the Jerry Garcia Band? I haven't heard those CDs yet, so invite better informed people to comment on this. Banshee? Asset? Neutral?

After listening to the 200 or so most popular Dead shows from '72-'78, my own personal opinion is that, all things considered, her singing brought wonderful benefits to the sound that certainly outweigh the occasional horrors she committed during the Wall of Sound era. But that's only one person's opinion.

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Feb 14, 2008 5:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

Dhamma ... i will not comment on Donna with the GD, however, i don't mind her contributions to the JGB, which setting i think was more fitting to her particular vocal skills; however, i would not go so far as to say that she made the JGB a better band, only that with Jerry's project, i can appreciate what she brought, even if i don't think it was something the band really needed

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Feb 14, 2008 6:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

better than banshee, worse than neutral...but it seems that all of the JGB vocalists experienced trouble with intonation

Maria Muldar did better (but not by a whole lot) you can hear her without Donna on 77-12-11 (which also features a rare JGB Space during the 18 minute "Lonesome And A Long Way From Home")

JGB 10-7-1979 to 11-16-1980 has no backing vocalists...can't say that i miss them

http://www.thejerrysite.com/Members.jsp

This post was modified by midnight sun on 2008-02-15 02:17:13

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Poster: dscott Date: Feb 14, 2008 6:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

I guess my mileage varies. I very much enjoy Donna Jean's vocals with JGB, and (for the most part) with the Dead. Even the screeches were a welcome part of the off-kilter madness that characterized many a great '72-'74 Playin'.

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Feb 14, 2008 6:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

lately i have realized that it is all very subjective, even something as clinical as intonation (vibrations per second)

i seem to be able to tolerate Jer's singing, going as far as to convince myself that he sometimes sings out of tune by design...yet, for example, i find Donna's singing on Here Comes Sunshine (one of my fav jam vehicles) nothing but a gong show

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Poster: blacklakelight Date: Feb 15, 2008 6:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

I've always known she couldn't hear herself. You can HEAR that she can't hear herself. And, on many shows (one of my favorites is her part in the scarlet/fire segue from 4/24/78) she sounds not-so-bad to pretty-damn-good. And definitely adds something to the sound.

As I've stated before, Donna's never really ruined anything for me. Well, it hasn't happened very often. Some of those '74 Playin's can be rough, but you know it's coming. My main peeve is her invariable lilt in the chorus of The Wheel in '77; "then the lightin' a-wee-uhl." Don't care for it.

I've never disliked her, though, and certainly never blamed her. I mean, shit yeah, the band had the tapes, they knew the problem. They could have told her, look, this just isn't working out, but they didn't (and no, I don't wish they did).

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Feb 15, 2008 6:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines

have often wondered why she didn't set up off to the side of the stage, on the other side of Keith...she may have felt too separated from the rest of the band there, but it would have certainly afforded her better monitor sound

Brent didn't seem to have difficulty singing in tune, even though he was mainly using his falsetto range and had to contend with the added pressure and sound of his keyboard work...come to think of it, i now recall how far away Brent always appeared to be from the rest of the band ("You are so far from me")

Phil makes no mention of Donna's singing difficulties in his book, other than he was grateful that she took the upper harmony parts off his plate...i remember a Jerry interview where he stresses the importance of getting along with other musicians...this is probably best exemplified in his tolerance of Bob's shrieking during what would have otherwise been a very sensitive and serene transition from vocals>jam during the 80's Estimated Prophet's, IMO far worse than anything Donna ever did

it can be very subjective in the sense that if one admires a musician's voice, instrumental capabilities, song writing, or for that matter, their personality, one might be more inclined to tolerate or even overlook their shortcomings





btw, i was quite moved by your post re - Shunka...i can't honestly say how i would have dealt with that "kitten killer"...along with realizing that dog's inherent innocence, you probably also knew that shooting that dog would have only resulted in it's incompetent owner getting another one

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Poster: blacklakelight Date: Feb 16, 2008 5:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Some Love for Donna on Valentines


Thanks, man. From what I remember, the dog was pretty clearly stray. I can't say what I realized at the time--I could go on and on about in now, of course--only that I felt for the dog, and my cat was dead anyway.

When I gave my friend his gun back, I said sorry for pussing out. I didn't really think I had, it was just good business, you know, upholding the code. This guy was very kung-fu philosophical, throwing stars and electric boogaloo. He said I hadn't, I'd just learned something very important about myself: I was not a killer.

Pretty heavy shit for parachute pants.

peace.